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Ozarks Life: Osceola High School BBQ Team takes World Championship

The F.F.A. Chapter’s students left Dallas as the top, overall team.
Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 10:15 AM CST
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OSCEOLA, Mo. (KY3) - With food and gratitude at the center of this week’s celebration, it’s only right to highlight a group of local teenagers who are grateful their food is putting Osceola on the map.

The Bar B Que Team from the High School’s F.F.A. Chapter took its culinary talents to Texas.

An afternoon cooking is this group’s homework. Not many students have classwork like this.

“Parents send me things or little text messages,” F.F.A. Advisor, Charles Simpson said, “like, ‘hey, thanks! This first thing we’ve done together in a long time’ or you know, ‘hey, it was great this food and I want to show you the pictures’ and you know, they’re gonna homework mom and dad.”

All of that tasty homework was to prepare for the World Championships. Osceola was representing the state of Missouri in Dallas, Texas.

“Had pretty fun car ride,” Grace Colby said. “We went the wrong way a couple of times.”

“I had to ride the car with Mr. Simpson and all the girls,” Skylar Wohlers said.

“We just thought of it as a practice,” Jordan Jackson added, “and just ignore all the other people.”

" I don’t really get nervous,” Cole Thomas said. “I hold my emotions. As I was confident.”

Teams of five have a 20′x20′ area to cook five different items at five different times. Their sponsor cannot reach into the area or the team would be disqualified.

“I just gave them some coaching tips and walk away,” Simpson said.

The lone senior Cole Thomas was responsible for the team’s ribs.

“Put them in the smoker at 300-degrees,” Thomas said. “And then I wrap them in foil after an hour. And I’ll put some (special sauce) and put it in with the foil. And then cook them for about 30 more minutes.”

Kloie Hooper took care of Osceola’s burgers.

“I use a ranch packet and put it in my burger,” Hooper said. “And I also use eggs to hold it together. So I do that and then cook it and I have my special sauce.”

The team’s chicken submission was all Jordan Jackson’s responsibility.

“I use three mixtures of the sauce and three mixtures of seasoning,” Jackson said.

One of the toughest categories is always steak. It was given to freshman, Skyler Wohlers.

“It’s one of the better steaks I’ve ever got,” Wohlers said. “It is one of the hardest competitions in the categories.”

Grace Colby made a Dutch Oven Apple Cobbler for the dessert.

“I put some melted butter on there,” Colby said, “and I just let it sit on the charcoals. And I cook it with eight charcoals on the bottom and 20 on top.”

The teams are graded on presentation, how well the item is prepared, and the taste profile.

“The judge gets one bite and that’s what they’re placing that on,” Simpson said. “So when they taste that did that student get the seasoning on nice and even from side to side, top to bottom. And did they hit on on all those taste buds.”

Simpson has been in cooking competitions before. With a second place finish at the World Championship in chicken and dessert, Simpson knew there was a chance his team could leave Dallas as one of the top schools.”

“I start thinking about, ‘hey, it’s gonna be tough to beat us,’ we got to be first or second,” Simpson said.

Kloie’s burgers won first place.

“I was like, ‘I just won worlds.’ So I thought that was pretty cool,” Hooper said.

And Cole’s ribs also won first.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Thomas said. “It was a good experience.”

Chuck knew the math would give the little town of Osceola the World Championship.

“They called third place and I was like, ‘we’re neither one of those,” Colby said.

“When they announced the second-place team, I just screamed,” Simpson said. “I know they probably think, ‘man who’s that crazy guy’ but I was cheering because I knew right then, hey, we just pulled this off.”

“I couldn’t stop jumping around and everything,” Wohlers said. “Everybody was going crazy.”

“They gave us a smaller trophy at first,” Hooper said. “And then they’re like, ‘no, come back. You got the wrong one.’ So when we got that one and we’re like, ‘oh my gosh, that’s awesome.’ And it’s taller than I am.”

“We had to get a new trophy case because it’s so tall,” Colby said.

“I was like, ‘Wow, how did we do that,” Jackson said. “Because I mean, Texas, there’s like three teams in there that are like at the top every year.”

“When you get that reward of those kids being successful,” Simpson said, “you see a kid and what it means to them, it’s great. I mean, that’s a feeling you can hardly explain.”

Simpson wanted to make sure to mention the late Dr. Charles Bourland in this story. He was a NASA Space Food Scientist and Osceola native. Later in life, he returned to his hometown and was very giving. He helped start the F.F.A. Chapter at the high school.

Up next, the Osceola Bar B Que team has automatically qualified for Nationals in June back in Texas.

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